Creating Space without Adding On

In a small space, everything counts. Whether you need more storage space or just want to make your room look more spacious, there are a number of techniques and tricks to fit the bill. Realize it's not all about physical size. How big your home feels is also a function of lighting, furniture placement, sight lines, and traffic flow. Master these principles and you may not even need that extra room.

Increasing Storage

  • Utilize armoires and the like to increase closet space.
  • Pine and cedar chests and blanket boxes can serve dual duty as bedside tables and for much needed storage.
  • Add a window seat with a flip-top lid that opens to a roomy storage locker and you'll have a cozy seating area while increasing your storage space.
  • In large rooms, you can create an entire wall of closets by putting up a wall parallel to an existing wall.
  • Create storage centres in existing closets by adding shelves, cubicles (for shoes, etc.) and rods placed at different heights.
  • In two-storey homes, areas under the stairs can also be tapped for storage space.

Increase Visual Size

Through Paint...

  • Light colours make your room look bigger and brighter. Light and brightly coloured walls are more reflective making a space feel open and airy, which will help to maximize the effect created by natural light.
  • Paint your wall trim and moldings a lighter colour than your walls. When you paint your moldings light, the wall appears further back, making your living room appear bigger.
  • Work in an overall colour scheme to unify your home at the same time you're creating distinctive atmospheres within it.

With Furniture...

  • Use multi-function furniture like a chest that can be used as a coffee table, sofa beds, chest of drawers, and beds with drawers for storage etc. Stick to clean lines in the furniture. Use an extendable dining table, folding tables and nest of tables, which can be tucked away when you don't need them.
  • Place the large pieces of furniture against the walls so the open space in the middle isn't broken up.
  • Scale the furniture to fit the size of the room and don't block walking pathways.
  • Consider having at least some of the furniture pieces the same colour as the walls.
  • Setting your furniture at an angle works because the longest straight line in any given room is it's diagonal. When you place your furniture at an angle, it leads the eye along the longer distance, rather than the shorter wall.
  • If the furniture in your room is tall, that might be making it seem as though the ceiling is lower than it actually is. Make sure there is plenty of space between your furniture, too.
  • Choose a sofa and chairs with open arms and exposed legs. A glass table, will keep the appearance of a open and free space. This allows light to filter under the furniture, making the room appear airier.

Using Light...

  • Lighting is a key element in opening up a space. By letting the natural light flow into the room, you will be surprised at how this will open up the room and make it look larger.
  • If you do not have a lot of natural light, you can add some lighting features to the room to make it look bigger.
  • If you have access to natural light, make full use of it. Bring it into your home through windows. Make sure window coverings are sheer, or are pulled back, to bring more light in. If the view is bad use hanging plants and potted flowers near windows.

By Cutting the Clutter...

  • Keep your room tidy and organized. A cluttered room equals a smaller room.
  • One large painting works better than a group of small paintings. When decorating a small room, create a focal point–one area or feature that will draw the eye. Make that focal point the star of the room. Arrange the furniture so that focus is drawn to that area, and keep the décor in the rest of the room to a minimum.
  • Keep the floor as clear as possible. This is one of the most important ways of maintaining a sense of spaciousness.
  • Take out large rugs to create the illusion of more floor space.
  • Mirrors can make your room look larger. Use a focal point and angle your mirrors towards it, which will give the illusion of depth. The mirrors also reflect both natural and artificial light to make a room brighter during the day and night. They bounce light deep into the room, making it appear larger.